If issue #1 of this new Godzilla mini-series was all about the art, issue two is all about the art AND the story. Who would have guessed that a comic aout a giant lizard smashing its way through southeast Asia would have a compelling story at its core?
It has been a dozen or so years since the first issue. Ota is now wiser and battle hardened after years of tracking and fighting Godzilla, so much so that it is no longer as frightening facing the monster as it is a game. Can they get ahead of Godzilla? How can they distract him? Can they prevent too much property damage? Godzilla had become predictable, and Ota was getting good at seeing the patterns.
But now things have changed. Godzilla is away from the home islands. He is crashing through Vietnam, right in the middle of a war between the Americans and the Vietnamese. But instead of being predictable in his journey, Godzilla is being erratic. It is almost as if he is following something!
Stokoe continues to write a believable character in Ota. It is not that he is extremely brave or cavalier. He is just a guy with a job. And he is good at his job. But he gets frustrated when people interefere with that job. So imagine his frustration when he suddenly has to deal with American Generals who are more interested in fighting a conventional war than they are listening to some guy who tells them their plans won’t work.
To make a book like Godzilla work, there has to be that nugget of truth that we, the reader can hold on to. So, while we may never have had to fight radiation-breathing giant lizards in southeast Asia, most of us can identify with the frustration of having our carefully conceived plans undermined by someone who thinks they know better. By focusing on Ota, Stokoe makes the book accessible for everyone.
But let’s get real. Most people are going to pick up this book for the art. James Stokoe is clearly having the time of his life drawing this title. Giant lizards, massive explosions funky little weaponized vehicles, and a couple of other things I can’t discuss without giving too much away make this book a pleasure to look at. As with all of the other Stokoe books I have read, there are several pages in this book I would love to own. Never did I ever think I would desire Godzilla pages hung on my walls!
If you have never picked up a Godzilla book, pick up Godzilla: The Half Century War. If you picked up a Godzilla bok before and didn’t like it, Pick up Godzilla: The Half Century War. What ever you do, pick up Godzilla: The Half Century War today!